Mike Abbott Pre-Oldham
August 5, 2023
Head coach Mike Abbott wants his Cornwall RLFC side to take ‘all aspects’ of their win over North Wales Crusaders into tomorrow’s game against Oldham.
The Mem chief masterminded a stunning first half performance in Rhyl last Sunday as the Choughs raced into a 40-4 interval lead.
But North Wales came storming back into the match and after scoring 34 unanswered points in the second half, came close to pulling off an unlikely fightback and subsequent victory.
Cornwall did manage to hold on and prevail 40-38 to keep their play-off hopes alive with three games left.
“We will want to replicate as much of the first half performance from the North Wales game against Oldham,” Abbott told cornwallrlfc.co.uk.
“If we play like that, we are a match for any side in this division and that includes Oldham who are a very good side. Oldham are strong in the middle of the park, a threat out wide and they have experience in the halves.
“Even though we shipped all those points in the second half against North Wales, there were still elements of our performance which I can take encouragement from.
“We were on the ropes in the last five minutes and they were looking for the knock-out punch but we hung in the game and defended really well in the last five minutes.
“That is a hugely encouraging aspect that we were able to hold on for the victory and if that attitude in defence is present against Oldham, along with the good bits we can do in attack, I think we will run well.”
The Roughyeds arrive in the Duchy looking to get their promotion push back on track after a disappointing recent run of results. That cost previous head coach Stuart Littler his job and he has been replaced by Mike Ford, who is in temporary charge.
Ford, who enjoyed a stellar rugby league playing career before holding down a number of coveted coaching positions in union, will be under the spotlight in Penryn once more.
Abbott says he is looking forward to locking horns with Ford, who is back coaching Oldham for the second time.
“It will be a challenge and an exciting challenge to go up against a side coached by Mike Ford,” Abbott added. “He was a top (league) player but moved to rugby union to coach in that code. He may have been out of rugby league for a number of years, but he has been in and around the Oldham set up for a few months now.
“He will be familiar with his players and will want them to play in a certain way that might differ to how their previous coach did. But I’m sure Oldham will be wanting to lay a good marker down for the rest of the season so I can’t see the change of coach having any detrimental effect on how they will play.”
Cornwall know they are drinking in the last chance saloon when it comes to the play-offs as realistically, they need to win all three of their remaining games and hope others slip up.
But to even be in with a shout of the top six as the regular rounds come to an end is something Abbott says is a real sign of the club’s progress.
“We had a brilliant month in July,” he enthused. “Even the game we lost against Workington was positive for us because we had a real dig and made them work hard for two points.
“I knew we had a good run of form in our locker and the new lads we have fetched in have helped us massively. Things have probably gone better than we would have expected in recent weeks but that is a measure of our progress as a club – both on and off the pitch.”